The Skills and Simulation Team at the university is seeking to enhance its nursing teaching programme and has drawn inspiration from the dementia-friendly environment at Sunrise of Purley, to continue its practice-based learning opportunities for its students.
The university’s staff observed the way in which Sunrise team members interact with residents who live with dementia, the way the care community is decorated, and also learnt about the memory boxes that are created and displayed outside residents’ rooms.
The visit, which was carried out by the university’s Skills & Simulation Facilities Team Leader, Samantha McCormack, and Area Technician, Kelly Milligan.
Samantha and Kelly will incorporate what they learnt into the five-minute dementia and communication simulation that they have developed, which allows students to experience what it feels like when others aren’t communicating with you, and therefore teaches the importance of meaningful interaction.
The visit to Sunrise of Purley will ensure that these virtual reality simulations stay as close as possible to the real world of dementia care, giving students more confidence when they move out of the training ward and into a care setting.
The collaboration is set to continue, with team members from Sunrise of Purley having been invited to visit Buckinghamshire New University in the near future. The continued dialogue and sharing of ideas between the two organisations will ensure the highest standards of dementia care, both in virtual training settings and real-life care communities.
Tammy Symonds, Reminiscence Co-ordinator at Sunrise of Purley, said:
“We really enjoyed welcoming Sam and Kelly into our community, to give them an insight into the dementia-friendly practices that we pride ourselves on.
“Visitors always notice the calm environment at Sunrise of Purley, as well as the variety of dementia-appropriate activities on offer, and the dedication of our Resident Ambassadors who provide valuable support to residents living with dementia.
“It was fascinating to learn about virtual simulations being pioneered at Buckinghamshire New University, and we look forward to continuing our valuable collaboration over the coming months.”
Kelly Milligan, Simulation and Skills Area Technician at Buckinghamshire New University, said:
“Sam and I were amazed by the amount of detail that goes into preparing the environment at Sunrise of Purley for those with dementia.
“It was a really eye-opening experience and we would like to thank Tammy and her team for showcasing all the fantastic work that the home does for residents.
“We can’t wait to incorporate what we learned at Sunrise of Purley into our dementia simulation for nursing students.”
Sam McCormack, Simulation and Skills Facilities Team Leader at Buckinghamshire New University, said:
“Our training wards provide an excellent environment for student nurses to gain a deep insight into the reality of dementia care, and learn about the importance of communication.
“Our visit to Sunrise of Purley is precisely the kind of experience that will enable us to mimic as closely as possible a real-life care setting, which eases the transition that our students have to undergo after they complete their course with us.
“We are very excited about our continued cooperation with Sunrise of Purley, and are sure that our sharing of ideas will enable us both to excel in dementia care going forward.”